Encompassing a mere 16 square miles of high ground and surrounded on three sides by water, Chatham has a beauty that is unsurpassed. The town is a decidedly maritime place of pristine beaches, wild barrier islands, tidal shoals, fleeting sandbars, circular coves and miles of saltwater inlets.
Incorporated in 1712, Chatham remains remarkably old-fashioned, despite a well-deserved reputation for shopping. Chic boutiques reside in quaint storefronts along its winding Main Street lined with historic inns, white-steepled churches, trendy eateries and art galleries.
Main Street’s dynamic energy is even more pronounced during the town’s annual 4th of July Parade, the Chatham Christmas Stroll and First Night, a family-friendly gathering that concludes with fireworks at Oyster Pond and the traditional "Dropping of the Cod” at midnight. On summer evenings, spread a blanket on the grass at the Chatham Band Concert, where the lamp-lit glow of Kate Gould Park and a sea of balloons will inspire you to bunny-hop.
A visit to Chatham’s busy commercial fishing pier reveals the thriving fishing village that co- exists with Chatham’s stylish façades. Watch local fishermen unload their day’s catch, as well as seals hoping to get a free meal. The Chatham-based Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance engages the local fishing community in building lasting solutions to protect the Cape’s ecosystem and the future of fishing businesses.
Chatham’s history can best be explored through its museums. Chatham Historical Society’s Atwood House Museum boasts a collection of 3,000 items - paintings, decorative arts, maritime artifacts, photographs and historical documents – and showcases an impressive collection of 120 nautical charts, most dating from the 19th century. A historic 1887 train depot was converted into what is now the Chatham Railroad Museum, which displays rail-centric exhibits, including model locomotives from the 1939 New York World’s Fair and a restored 1910 caboose.
The Chatham Marconi Maritime Center celebrates the first wireless transmission that occurred between the United States and Norway due to the genius of Guglielmo Marconi; the center pays tribute to Marconi’s contributions to wireless communication and Chatham’s connection to that technology.
Just south of Chatham is Monomoy Natural Wildlife Refuge, a fragile nine-mile long barrier beach preserve that encompasses 2,750 acres, including the Monomoy Islands. These islands are home to dunes, beach grass and migrating birds, and hundreds of harbor seals carpet the coastline from November to May. Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary conducts guided natural history tours of Monomoy throughout the year, and seal tours depart there in season.
While interactive seal tours give you a glimpse of the marine mammals drawing sharks to this section of the Cape, you can learn more about the ocean’s apex predator on land at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Chatham Shark Center. The conservancy is leading research efforts here in Cape waters to better understand this fascinating creature, and the shark center gives the public amazing insight into those efforts.
Bike paths, nature trails, golf, kayaking, birdwatching, fishing and beautiful beaches make Chatham a natural favorite for outdoor enthusiasts. And no trip to Chatham is complete without a visit to its two lighthouses: Stage Harbor Light, located near Harding’s Beach, and scenic Chatham Light, which overlooks Lighthouse Beach and currently serves as an active U.S. Coast Guard station. The famous Chatham fogs make Chatham Light a coveted spot for photographers.
Find more information on Chatham through the Chatham Chamber of Commerce.
Our website uses various cookies. These cookies allow us to distinguish you from other users of our website, which helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site. Read more about the types of cookies we use.